Use the day with the date

Please print the day of the week along with the date
By James Robert Watson, PhD


I got this announcement
(on the left) from Starbucks. Great – free pastry! When? The 23rd? What day is that?
I had to look it up.
But, there was no need for me to have to do that.
I tweaked the above announcement on the right to show the day. The day and the date are also grouped together as a unit on one line.

Designers, writers, and editors should always include the day of the week with the date.
Even if the copy given to you does not have the day, please add it. If there is not enough room in the line, explore options – abbreviate the day or the month (we are so familiar with day and month abbreviations that comprehension should not be affected).

Instead of:
mm January 29, 7:30pm, Music Hall

Include the day:
mm Thursday, January 29, 7:30pm, Music Hall
Or if space is a problem:
mm Thurs, Jan 29, 7:30p, Music Hall

Important:
• There is no advantage to omitting the day of the week.
• There are advantages to including the day of the week: more respect for the reader and clearer communication.

Here’s why
We often plan our schedules based on the day. Bridge on Tuesday nights, students know classes as MWF or TT, business people know they have a weekly meeting on Monday mornings, and on. When planning upcoming events and activities, we all think most often in days, not dates. Using just the date requires the reader to figure out what day that is so they can schedule it. Be more considerate and more clear – save the reader some trouble and just give them the day. It is more familiar – it’s how we speak with our friends:
— “Lets go to the concert on Thursday.”
— —— — “Okay.”

That is easier to comprehend than:
— “Lets go to the concert on the 29th.”
— —— — “What day is that?”
— — “Thursday.”
— —— — “Okay.”


Examples

I got this invitation in the mail – what fun – 50s music at the Art Museum, with cocktails. It sounds like a great time. I want to go. When is it? August 15? When is that – a Thursday, a Saturday? Why didn’t they tell me so I could mentally plan my schedule? I plan my schedule in days of the week rather than dates.


This place got it right. The flier on the right is the actual one – I deleted the day for the example on the left. See how much clearer it is when the day is included. They also set the time well – 5pm – with no spaces, rather than 5 P. M.


I donate blood regularly (its just the right thing to do). I went online to make an appointment and nowhere in the process did the blood center tell me on what day the blood drive would be held. I had to perform a separate function of opening and checking a calendar to determine what day the 23rd would be. There is no reason I or any user of their website should have to do that – just include the day with the date.
Reminder: we schedule our lives in days, not dates.


In the example below, the two columns on the left include both the day and the date, the columns on the right have just the date. Again, see how much clearer it is. It respects the reader and his/her time.



The two ads on the left include the day, the two on the right do not.

Please include the day of the week whenever you print a date of upcoming events.
Thank you. And please spread the word.

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